The Last Night Wins in Miami

Posted Tuesday 23 Jun 2015

Congratulations to WIFT member Wanda Lepionka whose film The Last Night won Best Dramatic Short Film at the Women's International Film and Arts Festival, Miami in the USA recently. Wanda produced the film with David Strong (who also wrote it)

The film has been quietly gathering up accolades and has been in six International Film Festivals so far, nominated three times at the NZ Film Awards 2014,  it won a Festival Director's Award and is also at the Madrid International Film Festival in July where it's nominated for three awards (Best Screenplay, Best Editor and Best Producer).

Here's a rundown on the storyline...

Isolated at night in mountainous Afghanistan and surrounded by militia, a young United Nations military advisor struggles to negotiate with a powerful warlord.

Inspired by true events this is a dark, serious, and high stakes story about a real subject - Afghanistan and the futility of Western efforts in trying to change it. It's about the reality of life and death in its coarsest and most primitive form, being played at under the fa�ade of friendship by seemingly reasonable men, knowing that in this hellish place, death is but a wrong-glance away.

We wish Wanda all the best for the Madrid film festival - Well done so far!



Next Up...

From Lawyer to Filmmaker

Posted Tuesday 23 Jun 2015

WIFT member Jane Fletcher wasn't one of those kids who were out with a Super 8 camera making films with her buddies. She is a civil litigation lawyer and says, 'It had really never occurred to me that people had jobs, making films. I didn't hate my job but it didn't make me jump out of bed in the morning - I knew that working in film would'.

This year Jane earned her first directing credit on a feature film, the Oneshot Collective's anthology feature Encounters, which combines the efforts of 12 Wellington film-makers (including 41% female directors and 50% female writers).

Encounters has just wrapped principal photography, and most of the edits have been completed. Oneshot has partnered with Park Road Post, giving the twelve filmmakers the opportunity to work with world-class post-production professionals and tools. For Jane this is really exciting - now she just needs some support to get her through to the finish line. To that effect, the Oneshot Collective launched a crowdfunding campaign on Boosted last Friday, running until mid-June to meet their required target.

When asked about the specific challenges faced by women creatives in the film industry, Jane says, 'Personally - and this may be na�ve of me - I don't feel that my gender has had any impact on my career as a director. So far, at least! In saying that, the statistics are awful and they don't exist in a vacuum. I think the industry is obliged to unpack those statistics and figure out why they exist - and do something about it.'

There are big advantages to collaborative initiatives such as Oneshot. Short films are a lot of work with little to no commercial value and they barely get seen. Says Jane, 'The opportunity to work collaboratively on a feature puts us all much more clearly in the frame'.

'The films are all very different, reflecting the skills, tastes and backgrounds of 12 very different directors. We have comedy, horror, period drama, fantasy, action, drama, thriller... In saying that, they share a common theme ("chance encounters") and will be very carefully slotted together to make a coherent whole, rather than 12 separate pieces'.

You can find Jane one her website

Story supplied by Anita Ross.